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Published Sep. 16, 2009


A Republican lawmaker on Tuesday urged the Justice Department to investigate ACORN, a community organization under fire for several voter-registration fraud cases.

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., wrote Attorney General Eric Holder requesting the investigation. He cited reports that ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, may "have been engaged in illegal activity" by aiding and abetting tax evasion, prostitution, human trafficking, fraud and conspiracy.

The Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN following a measure introduced by Johanns. The Nebraska lawmaker said the organization has received more than $50 million in taxpayer funds since 1994.

Bill introduced to end Defense of Marriage Act

Impatient with the piecemeal approach to gay rights adopted by Democratic leaders, 90 House liberals introduced a bill Tuesday to repeal the central federal law governing same-sex couples. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act denies all federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples, including Social Security, estate and other tax laws and immigration rights for spouses.

Lucasville, Ohio

Inmate tries to aid own execution

After his lethal injection was delayed for hours because of his own attorney's appeal request, an Ohio inmate condemned for the 1984 rape and slaying of a teen girl tried to help hasten his own death as his executioners had trouble finding usable veins.

Romell Broom, 53, turned onto his side, slid rubber tubing up his left arm and moved the arm up and down while flexing and opening his fingers. The execution team accessed a vein, but it collapsed when technicians tried to insert saline fluid, bringing Broom to tears.

Prisons director Terry Collins decided after a two-hour effort using Broom's arms and legs that the team had had enough. He contacted Gov. Ted Strickand, who issued the state's first last-minute reprieve since Ohio resumed executions in 1999.


California to boost renewable energy

California will have the nation's most ambitious renewable energy goal under an executive order signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tuesday's action requires the state's utilities to get a third of their power from renewable sources by 2020.

Times wires